R3 banks complete first blockchain trial

Forty of the world’s largest banks have successfully trialled five blockchain technologies in parallel, in the first test of its kind.

The FIs are members of the R3 consortium, which was set up to experiment with distributed ledgers in the global financial markets. This trial involved the trading of fixed income assets between the participating banks across the block chains, using multiple cloud technology providers within R3’s Global Collaborative Lab.

The banks connected to the R3-managed private distributed ledger technologies built by Chain, Eris Industries, Ethereum, IBM and Intel. They then evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of each technology by running smart contracts that were programmed to facilitate issuance, secondary trading and redemption of commercial paper – a short-term fixed income security typically issued by corporations to raise funding. Cloud computing resources were provided by Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix and Amazon AWS to host the distributed ledgers.

Jurgen Vroegh, global head of payments at ING, who is leading the project for the bank, said: “It is great to see that the trials are bringing all parties so much closer together. The engagement between the member banks at all levels and across all disciplines was very intense and full of enthusiasm. With constructive in-depth communication we really managed to create an expert community. The trials gave us a higher level of understanding of the various technology options and insight on how smart contracts can really work on a distributed ledger.”

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